Band of Outsiders
February 10, 2012 New York
As suggested by the set design, Sternberg's mind was on ol' Mexico and the rugged American Southwest, and the theme carried through all three of his collections. First up, the men. In the Band of Outsiders collection, Sternberg made his reference overt, but not literal: This was Band sportswear, for sure, executed in sueded, desert-color materials and conductor stripe, plus some winning puffer jackets and scarves. Sternberg's cheekiest play with his Mexican reference was to apply Oaxacan-inspired embroidery to a chino suit, a riff on WASP whale pants. His most direct move was to make alpaca sweaters intarsia knit with Oaxacan-inspired iconography; the hoodie versions were a slam dunk.
Next up, the womenswear. In general, Sternberg gave his seasonal themes a looser interpretation in Boy and Girl, though Boy did quote some of the menswear ideas. These were breakthrough collections for Sternberg: For the first time, his womenswear was the clear strength of his show. Girl came down the catwalk first, and boasted a panoply of great microfloral frocks; to-die-for hairy, ink-dyed furs; cozy hand-knits; and bonus items like a microfloral puffer vest and navy alpaca coat with a floral print. Boy, per usual, had a more masculine mien, but even here the feminine rose to the top. Indeed, Sternberg closed the show with a couple of clean, flowing gowns—basic black ones, with suspender-banded halter bodices. The gowns were dead sexy and undeniably glam, both unusual notes for Band of Outsiders to strike, and they hinted at the brand's new horizons.